We are doing it.
We are saving the earth.
I know it seems like everything is going to hell in a hand basket with polar bears hanging onto icebergs and droughts so bad whole lakes have disappeared. We have pesticide-laden foods and a heaving dependence on fossil fuel use. Oceans are dying and asthma from poor air quality is bringing our kids to the ER. It’s pretty easy to look around and see habitat destruction and other indicators of doom.
And for a long time these unintended consequences of economic development were the concern of a crazy little bunch labeled “environmentalists” and too quickly that label became a sort of condemnation, which has always seemed odd to me.
But, in a way, I too reject the label. I think bike lanes are a critical part of urban infrastructure not because the environment needs them, but because humans need them.
The earth will be fine.
She may heat up. Her oceans may rise. She may hurl destructive winds across her planes. But she has been through many changes over the last several billion years. Ice and lava have covered her lands. Species have come and gone. The earth has transformed and reinvented herself time after time. She will do it again, with or without us.
So I think we should be very clear; we aren’t trying to save the earth, we are trying to save ourselves.
Because if the earth heats up and waters rise and winds destroy, we are screwed. Our survival demands radical transformation. And we are getting there. When I was a college environmentalist I kept reading about the need for a “paradigm shift” in order for policy to support sustainable practices.
A paradigm shift. A complete change in how the vast majority of people see an issue.
We are there. We have shifted. I can see it.
I see it in the solar paneled rooftops of my neighbors. I see it in every Prius and Volt and Tesla on L.A.’s streets. I see it in new Metro stations and in every fluorescent light bulb. I see it in the brown lawns across the city that don’t need to be green in a drought and the native plants that are replacing our grass. I see it over the passes to Palm Springs where the majestic turbines entrance me. I see it in the reusable bags we are all now beginning to remember to use. It’s in the bright green bike lanes on Ocean Park Boulevard, in every vegetarian meal and every organic fruit purchased from a local farmer. It is flowing down the lush L.A. River. Proof that the paradigm has shifted.
And in each of these places I see #Hope4Humanity. I feel it. I know that we can do this. We can evolve, we can transform. We can save ourselves from mass extinction.
I get frustrated with the language of environmentalists. I get angry at the doom. It makes me feel like nothing’s working. Like we are bound to go to hell in a hand basket so who cares if I take a 40 minute shower or drive an SUV. The language of environmentalists makes me want to give up.
So I reject the doom. I know the problems. What I want to know is the solutions. I want to shine a big bright (solar powered) light on those amazing, innovative, creative, adaptive solutions that we humans have come up with to save our species and the species that we share this one-in-a-bazillion planet with.
Because this is our chance to shift.
And we totally got this.
A Bit About Me
I am Tenaya, a communications strategist and public speaker telling stories that connect, inspire...and laugh.